Marketing Manager, Brand Strategist, Social Media Director
Welcome to foglyte!
Here you'll find a collection of my thoughts and observations on marketing strategies, social media, community building, and branding. Hope you find something worth your time here. Cheers!
Molson Canadian has always been an iconic brand up here north of the 49th. The now legendary “I AM CANADIAN” rant is ingrained in our national heritage as ‘much more than a commercial’. It was a rallying cry for Canucks around the world to raise a glass and toast to what a freakin’ awesome place Canada is.
True to form, Molson has produced a brilliant collection of inspiring ‘GO TEAM’ graphics during the 2014 Winter OIympic games in Sochi. They’ve been saturating my Twitter feed every day, and it makes me smile. Molson is doing a fantastic job of showcasing Canadian pride, and having a great time owning each and every stereotype that most Canadians are proud to admit are actually quite true.
Here’s some of the top pics they’ve sent out so far…
Their timing is perfect, their captions brilliant, their graphics spectacular. It’s no wonder these are easily some of the most-shared images from any brand participating in Olympic marketing. Nicely done, Molson Canadian. You’ve once again assured your place as one of the definitive Canadian brands. Kudos, and I can’t wait to see what you’ve got in the hopper for when Canada inevitably wins the last gold of the games!
Oh, and here’s my personal favourite … . so far. :)
This post exists because of this Tweet…
Yes, I know it’s a dated meme that’s been driven in to the ground, and I’m ok with that. In fact, because this is a meme from ancient internet history, it makes it even more appropriate for this topic because this is something that should just not happen anymore, and yet it happens all the time.. So, here’s a post inspired by that all-too-true tweet from 20kGroup and Matthew Carberry, along with couple more things that still happen in social media that should have been wiped from existence ages ago.
It’s 2014, everyone. These things need to stop.
Don’t pick fights with your customers. Ever. Because you will lose more than you think. Yes, you’ll lose that customer, but you’ll also lose something much more important: RESPECT. Nobody wants to do business with someone who’s confrontational and too proud for their own good. Your brand can’t win here so take it offline, solve the problem, and move on.
If you still send Auto-DM’s… (Thanks to @erinbury)
Why does this still happen? Auto DM’s are the least-social way to say anything in social media. Proponents of Auto-DM’s say it’s simply the easiest way to show appreciation for a new follower. Well, I’m sure your followers are truly grateful that you’ve put forth the absolute bare minimum of effort to thank them. If you really appreciate new followers, then take the time to thank them personally. And in the name of all that is good in this world, don’t tell me to follow you on Facebook too.
If you think your personal posts don’t impact your employers brand… (I came up with this one)
I’ve got news for you: If I see someone swearing a blue streak in the parking lot of a store, you better believe that it will change my opinion of that store if they walk in and stand behind the counter for their shift. Same thing applies in social media. On or off the clock, on your own account or on theirs, you are intertwined with your employers brand, not because your boss says so, but because the CUSTOMERS say so.
Here I am, jumping on the Three-Words bandwagon created by the one and only Chris Brogan. It’s a tradition that I am more than happy to adopt because of its elegant simplicity. Three words, no more, no less, that serve as inspiration, clarity, and focus for the upcoming year. Three little words that can make a difference in how you feel and how you live. Three little words that can be the difference between ‘more of the same’ and ‘the year things got better’.
Seeing how this is my first attempt at crafting a Three-Words focus for the year, I struggled at the onset with how to really approach this. Do I focus on work? Do I focus on personal life? Do I go all philosophical? Then I realized, why does it need to be limited to one aspect of my life? Why can’t there be three words that transcend my whole being? I can, and will, choose three words to make me better across the board.
Let’s start the insanity…
1) Encourage - Encouragement is one of the most valuable things you can give to another person. To say YES when others say NO. To say GO when others say STOP. My family, friends, students, and colleagues deserve encouragement to strive for great things, to achieve more, and to grab what they want from life. This year, I will be their cheering section.
2) Run - Literally and figuratively. I lost my habit of running a few years ago, and my body has paid the price. Getting softer around the middle is not something I am ok with. 2014 I will run again, if only in fair weather. (Hey, I’m all about improvement, but I’ve never been a huge fan of running in sub-zero temps). But more than just the physical act, I will also run with things that I believe to be important. Taking inspiration and running with it gives me immense satisfaction. Even if some things ultimately don’t turn out how I want them to, I don’t want 2014 to be a year full of ‘what ifs’.
3) Savour - There’s a lot of good that happens in our lives, every day. How often do we really recognize, and take the time to savour it? This year, I’m going to do it a lot. Moments with family, and moments of solitude. Wins at work, and wins at home. Inspiration from old friends, and inspiration from new connections. This will be a year of recognizing the positive, not focusing on the negative.
Maybe these are too lofty, but if I can progress a little further towards each one, then I’ll consider this year a success. Improvement need not come in leaps and bounds. Sometimes it comes one small step at a time.
What will your three words be for 2014?
“Open war is upon you, whether you’d risk it or not.” - Aragorn to King Theoden, Lord of the Rings
I’m not going to tell you that a crucial shift is coming in business. I’m not going to tell you that, simply because it’s already happened. We’re already in the midst of the Content War, and if your business hasn’t taken steps to mobilize, you’re potentially losing ground to your competition already. Businesses of all kinds are producing content at an astonishing rate, and it’s making a difference for those who do it right. The good news? It’s not too late to take up arms.
I’m not going to get too in-depth on what qualifies as ‘content’, or more appropriately, ‘good content’. For the best resource on this, check out the awesome book “Content Rules” by C.C Chapman and Ann Handley. Suffice to say that whatever your content consists of, whether it be articles, images, videos, or a combination of all three, the overarching qualifier necessary to register as ‘good content’ is VALUE. Whatever you produce for your audience, it’s got to be valuable.
Nobody builds authority, expertise, or trust with garbage content. Delivering value to your audience is the only way to gain ground in the Content War.
Time to get deeper in to what factors impact the success of your team, and are necessary to actually deliver that value to your audience. How does one business gain an advantage over their competition in the Content War? By being superior across a variety of measures, none of which have anything to do with having the deepest pockets.
You’ll be the most effective in the Content War if you have:
Superior Intel - Don’t confuse intelligence with data. Raw numbers are useless without context and interpretation. First, look where the action is happening and examine the types of content that are generating action and engagement. Understand what your audience craves for content, and then understand why they crave it. Ask yourself “What is it about that piece of content that delivers value for them?” Look, listen, and figure out what you can give that they want. This will give you a purpose for your content.
Superior Supply Chain - How do you get the content from the idea stage to being in front of your audience in the best possible way? Who in your organization is the best person(s) to provide the raw materials you need to create your audience’s desired content? Who can take that raw material and turn it in to a usable product? Who is the best person to deliver the content in a timely manner in the right location? These all may be the same person, or all different people. Identify the best team to have in place to take content from concept to reality and deliver it.
Superior Training - What tools will you use? What are the intricacies of navigating through the necessary networks to reach your audience? Squeezing the most from the tools you have available helps you maximize the impact of your content. Your team should be trained on the ins-and-outs of whatever platforms and tools you’re using to create, distribute, and monitor your content.
Superior Tactics - You know what kinds of content to make. You know who the best people are to help make that content. And you know how and where to post it. The next question is WHEN to post it. The brilliant Gary Vaynerchuk once said that content is one thing, but CONTEXT is truly where the power comes from. Creating the greatest content the world has ever seen is all for naught if it has no context. This article might as well be called the “Relevance War”, because that’s really where we are headed. Posting the right stuff at the right time is how you become the most relevant. Be tactical about what you post, when you post it, and where.
Superior Leadership - Leadership matters, not at just the level of the Generals and Admirals, but at the Squad Leader level. Bring everyone in the loop on what your objectives are in the Content War. Allow them to be flexible, to adapt to changing battle conditions. Never stop learning. Never stop pushing. Having superior leadership gives clarity of purpose across all levels.
Finally, be aware that involvement in the Content War is not optional. The magnificent quote at the beginning of this article sums it up quite nicely. "Open war is upon you, whether you’d risk it or not." While a business may elect not to create, this does not exclude that business from being compared to all the others who do. In a world full of conquerors, as the world of business truly is, how long will a business last if they stand idly by? Good content is authority, expertise, trust, and visibility. Good content is value, not just for your customers, but for your business. Good content is relevance.
Time to take up arms, and join the battle.
I take branding really seriously. It matters. And not just for the company in question, but for everyone connected to it. Customers, distributors, partners, suppliers, etc. And what I see happening to the great city of Toronto is one of the most tragic examples of unjustified brand damage in recent memory.
There’s no reason for Toronto’s brand to be going through what it currently is, and I think that this is due partially to the parties involved not truly realizing the long-reaching effects this could have on the city as a whole.
For example, let’s take a quick look at what happens when the CEO of a major corporation goes off and makes an utter mockery of a once-proud brand. Simply look at what’s happened to brands like Lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kenneth Cole, and the likes simply due to some callous and ignorant comments made by their CEO’s. Their brand value has taken a major hit, and one could argue strongly that their position in the mind of their customers and in the marketplace may never be what it once was. Competitors with stronger, cleaner, more honest brands start looking really good to your customers.
What if that happens to the largest city in Canada? How will this stigma of the hot-headed crack-smoking mayor in a constant state of denial label Toronto to the rest of the world?
What will be the economic impacts? Will investments in business and infrastructure be scrutinized more closely before commitments are made? Will this result in businesses considering alternatives with renewed interest? There are factors at play here that go far beyond just ‘the mayor’.
Right now, Toronto is a joke worldwide. It was funny for a while, then it got sad, then funny again, and now it’s truly distressing. And it won’t be something that is forgotten quickly. A city’s leadership matters just the same as a business’ leadership matters. Every brand has a figurehead, for better or worse. They embody the brand. If they aren’t aligned, there are consequences.
He needs to go, if for no other reason than Toronto’s brand can’t afford him. The city needs a leader reflective of the true nature of the city, and Ford is not that leader. He needs help, that much is certain. And at this point, so does Toronto.
The great folks over at Search Engine Land created this brilliant infographic full of handy SEO information.
From the Search Engine Land post:
"Search engine optimization — SEO — may seem like alchemy to the uninitiated. But there is a science to it. Search engines reward pages with the right combination of ranking factors, or “signals.” SEO is about ensuring your content generates the right type of signals.
Our chart below summarizes the major factors to focus on for search engine ranking success (and thanks to Column Five Media, for the infographic design).”
Download PDF of chart here: http://searchengineland.com/seotable/download-periodic-table-of-seo
Social Slam 2013 has concluded, and that makes me sad. However, Social Slam 2013 was awesome, and that makes me happy. The content was brilliant, the speakers were tremendous, and the people were the best. Social Slam is without a doubt, a must-attend event for ANYONE working with digital tools, professionally or personally, to connect and communicate.
Scanning back through the countless tweets sent out during the event, there’s so much gold it’s clear that everyone walked away from the event energized and excited to get to work using new techniques and approaches to the digital space. Here is but a handful of the great content that was shared during Social Slam, but for those craving more, simply search for the #soslam hashtag on Twitter and immerse yourself!
"You’re not just competing with the guy down the street. You’re competing globally." - @jeffbullas
My take: Jeff’s own presence at Social Slam after over 40hrs of exhaustive delay-ridden travel time reminds us all that there are no borders in social media. Forget about competing locally, and be awesome worldwide.
"Social levels the playing field for introverts and extroverts." - @jeffbullas
My take: Your content isn’t judged based on how you act at cocktail parties. It’s judged based on its value. By creating great content, even the most meek and mild of us can become social superstars.
"Use your social media to tell your whole story: employees, community, environment." @xanpearson
My take: Your story is not contained within your logo, your mission statement, or your brochure. It’s contained within the actions of every single one of your employees, customers, and partners. Use the power of social to share the entirety of your brand.
"Blog comments come from emotional reactions to your content. They need to WANT to share their take on your content." - @dinodogan
My take: Dino reminds us that comments don’t appear simply because you wrote something. They appear because something ‘sparked’ inside the reader. An emotional impact triggers the desire to comment. Want comments? Write something that creates that ‘spark’.
"Community is at the heart of everything we do." - @gabriellenyc
My take: Wow! What an INCREDIBLE talk this was. Gabrielle captivated the entire audience with her amazing stories and reminds us all that everything we do connects us to other people. Everyone we meet, shake hands with, share a laugh with, share a moment of sadness or of joy with, inevitably becomes part of our personal community. Social media amplifies this and makes our communities grow stronger, larger, and faster, stretching across the globe.
"You can’t teach how to blog unless you blog. You can’t teach Twitter if you don’t use Twitter." - @markwschaefer
My take: In other words, if you want to be a great communicator, then you need to COMMUNICATE. Invest the time in learning the tools, honing your voice, and appreciating your audience. Becoming great in social takes time, and takes practise.
"Common sense is strangely uncommon most of the time." @JeffBullas
My take: Think before you do. Read before you post. Choose your words wisely. Jeff’s statement is deceptively simple, yet speaks volumes. Many of those using social do so with very little forethought. Be smart about how you use social media, use care and caution, and pay attention to the perceptions of your audience. It matters.
"Automation isn’t evil. Use it right & save time. You can’t automate & then bail on your audience." - @ChrisQueso
My take: Social media is not a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of media. It’s real-time, and is fuelled by interactivity and engagement. Using automation for certain repetitive tasks can be a huge time saver for many of us, but it does not mean that your social networks are now self-sustaining. It needs to have your personal interaction and attention, otherwise you’re just advertising.
"If all you’re doing is sharing mediocre content, you’re amplifying the suck." - @jenkaneco
My take: ‘Meh’ content does not get retweeted. It does not get liked. It certainly doesn’t get commented on. Don’t just post for the sake of posting. Post because you’ve got something that is bursting at the seams with awesome. Deliver value, all the time, or your brand will be one big ‘meh’.
"It’s hard not to like someone once you know their story. - Mr. Rogers" - @ducttape
My take: Your story is your brand. Who you are, what you’re all about, what you do and why you do it. This is why people like you, this is why people like your company. Don’t seal up your story away from your community. Share it & be proud of it. Your community isn’t just listening to your story, it is an integral part of it.
In addition to being an event overflowing with great content, it was also one of the greatest networking events I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Speakers did not run back to their hotel rooms or to the airport after their time on stage had concluded. They became part of the crowd, attending other sessions, and talking with everyone they could find. I was absolutely honoured to personally meet many of the brilliant headliners, had some truly brilliant conversations, and lots of fun hanging out at the pubs!
(So glad I got a chance to hang out with so many brilliant people, like Jeff Bullas & Gabrielle Laine Peters!)
My most profound thanks to Mark Schaefer for making this an incredibly valuable event that will undoubtedly influence attendees to go out to their various corners of the world and utilize the awesome lessons that were learned, and share these lessons with their own communities. I know that I’m already looking forward to Social Slam 2014!